Archive for the ‘watch the skies!’ Category

Not to fall into the national stereotype or anything at this time of national crisis (well, minor snowfall I’ll grant you), but I quite like weather stuff. I find it interesting, just as well really as I have worked as a weatherman. (An awesome one naturally)

So in a break from the traditional moaning, I though I would share some stuff on the net that may interest you

First up. Weather charts. Not the stuff you get on the TV but proper ones, The UK Met Office charts are best, but curiously the best place to see them is not on their site! MetBrief has a full set, regularly updated.

If you fancy watching an animation of the current precipitation then the last couple of hours of radar imagery can be viewed here

Mucking about on the water? Then the inshore waters FX (forecast!) is here

Fantastic satellite imagery is available via Dundee Uni receiving station (needs free registration) – hint: you want the latest images from the Meteosat SEVIRI Also worth looking at the gallery of spectacular images

Want to know what it’s going to do and when? Probably the most accurate FX are the terminal airfield forecasts (TAFs) for aviation. You can look up your local one here and then once you’ve confused yourself, figure out the codes here

Some good detailed forecasts can be found at the Met Office and BBC as expected, but another good source is here at the weather underground

Or maybe we should bring back the Live TV version…

Whatever you end up doing, have fun and stay safe!

The world is paying tribute to the 50th anniversary of Yuro Gagarins epic voyage into the unknown. His flight on the 12 April, 1961 began with his shout “Poyekhali! (Let’s go!)”. This video beautifully combines archive footage, radio communcations and video shot from the International Space Station to relive the view he would have had, in real time, of his pioneering flight.

What struck me is what an exciting time the 50’s and 60’s were. We had leapt from the first flights in 1903 to landing on the moon 65 years later. By comparison what have we acheived since? I know that many of these developments were driven by wars both hot and cold, and manned exploration is expotentially more difficult as we reach further into the universe. But take a look at a few of these significant firsts…

First successful heavier-than-air machine flight.

First cross-Channel flight

First transatlantic flight.

First piloted supersonic flight in an airplane

1957 A busy year!
First round-the-world nonstop jet plane flight.

Soviet Union launches Sputnik I.

Sputnik II launches, with ill-fated Laika the dog on board.

Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes the first human to enter space and return safely.

Astronauts Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Neil Armstrong become the first men to walk on the moon.

1972 Launch of unmanned Pioneer 10: Earth’s first space probe to an outer planet, Pioneer 10 sent its last communication back to Earth on January 22, 2003, while 7.6 billion miles from home

1973 United States launches the first experimental space station, the Skylab.

First regularly scheduled commercial supersonic transport (SST) flights begin.

Aboard the space shuttle Columbia, Robert L. Crippen and John W. Young make the first mission in NASA’s space shuttle program.

Mir space station launches.

The crew of Expedition One, astronaut Bill Shepherd and cosmonauts Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev, dock at the International Space Station. They are the first people to take up residence at the ISS, staying there for several months.

Spirit and Opportunity arrive on the Martian surface. They continue to explore the Red Planet today.

SpaceShipOne becomes the first privately built craft to reach outer space.

What is striking is the slow down in exploration. What achievements have been made in the last 5 years for instance? We are still riveted by the Mars explorers which are still producing new data despite being designed for a 3 month mission. NASA is retiring the shuttles and the workhorses of Russia and the ESA seem dedicated to servicing the ISS, which although a magnificent acheiviement is still in a low earth orbit that we bettered decades ago.

I want to be excited about exploration. But as a species we seem to only have resources for parochial political gambits and as a population we seem more interested in whatever phone vote is on Saturday night.

Perhaps Yuri was better off not seeing what we became. His thirst for knowledge and experience was summed up in a note he left to be sent in the event of his death (which was estimated as 50/50 at best!)

“I trust the hardware completely. It will not fail. But it can happen that a man trips at ground level and breaks his neck. Some accident may happen. If it does, do not waste yourself with grief. Life is life, and nobody is safe from being run over by a car.”

Bravo Zulu Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin, 9 March 1934 – 27 March 1968

NASA Armageddon watch service the Near-Earth Program, based at the JPL have announced that an object that passed close to the Earth was probably artificial. It’s spectral characteristics did not match any known natural phenomenon and its brightness and radar returns suggest the object was only a few metres in size, and the pre-placed probable Alien insurgents suggest this is typical of a rocket booster body. The body transitted the Earth-Moon system much as our planetary probes do to other worlds in the solar system

Alien Probe Plan

Trajectory of the Alien Probe

Of course it would also be an ideal size for an interplantery probe designed to test Earths defences and assess the likelihood of a successful clandestine approach of the Xeno-Fleet to our planet. Having woken the sleeper cells and begun initial testing of Earth’s space defences their dastardly invasion plans (foreseen by Human Hyper-Boffin and figurehead for the fledgling human resistance, Stephen Hawkings) surely cannot be far behind?

The evidence is stacking up of the impending global land grab by the soon-to-be overlords from other worlds. You have just enough time to prepare. Ignore the infiltrated media lies and soporific outpourings of sedative TV designed to turn us all into vegetables ripe for the picking, prepare yourselves and your loved ones for the inevitable galactic conflict.

Good Luck, remember they are already among us and watch the skies.

The alien battle fleet is entering the solar system as we speak. Like all good B-movie flicks (there can be little doubt now these were a product of infiltrated alien propaganda to make us ignore the signs of our impending conquest and abduction as either slaves to the galactic conquistadors or pacification and domestication as a food stuff for the human-scoffing Armageddon-mongers) Our leaders and experts have sat by and done nothing to heed the alarming warnings of global apocalypse as prophesised by mega-boffin Stephen Hawkings, and we now appear doomed to reap the results of our scepticism and ignorance

Already they have turned our own technology against us, using the Voyager 2 probe in a final ironic insult before wiping us from what is soon to be their planet. They have corrupted its peaceful humane mission into that of a twisted xeno-signal emitter broadcasting their fiendishly encrypted call-to-arms back at the Earth, no doubt already activating their human-like sleeper agents to begin their sabotage missions in advance of the mother ships arrival in orbit and our imminent extinction.

The activities of this advance guard have been documented cryptically in the internet based info hub The Register. It’s thinly veiled intel reports for members of the Neo-Luddite Resistance Army list the invaders other attempts to subvert our technology for their own nefarious ends.

A few of us may live to carry on the resistance, in this dark hour we can only hope that ultimately humanity will prevail. Although in the cold logic of science and the hard maths of reason, having seen some of the x-factor should we be allowed to?

The vital work by Uber-brain Hawkings and alien visionary Prof Hausdorf may just have bought us the time we need to prepare and arm ourselves for the looming inter-galactic conflict.

Good Luck, and watch the skies…

Well, according to Stephen Hawkings anyway. Essentially the uber-boffin reckons we should be wary of announcing our presence to any sentient alien lifeforms in case they’re far too keen to pillage planet Earth for our resources. Or, to put it another way, they might be just too like us for comfort. Our history of cultural first contact isn’t exactly a model of ethical behaviour after all. From the Roman enslavement of other races to the European colonisation of America (North and South) time and again humans show their instincts.

Best hope there’s no-one with bigger toys than us out there then?

Stephen Hawkings Home page